Amsterdam is known for its many canals. The city centre is practically a network of canals, along which you’ll find Amsterdam’s monumental canal houses. This historical area is referred to as “Grachtengordel” which would be best translated as “Canal Ring”. The unique architecture really comes alive while viewed from the water and will leave a great impression. Therefore people often state that Amsterdam is best seen from the water. The only way of finding out whether that’s true, is by going to see it for yourself. We even dare to state that your trip to Amsterdam isn’t complete if you haven’t been on a canal cruise. This is really something you don’t want to miss out on!
Check out the various options for a cruise along the beautiful canals below! From renting a boat to a romantic candle light cruise.
You can’t leave Amsterdam without going on a canal cruise, as Amsterdam is best seen from the water!
Classical canal boat cruise
The classical canal boat is always a good choice! These comfortable boats with glass ceilings and windows give you the opportunity to view the architectural highlights Amsterdam has to offer. In fall and winter these boats provide you cover against the weather so you can enjoy the city with out feeling cold or getting wet. Most boat tours offer guided tours and cover the city’s main highlights. Tours depart from multiple spots throughout the city.
There are canal cruises offered both in day and night time. Which one is best for you is up to you to decide. Obviously during the day you’ll see more and have better opportunities to make good pictures. However if you are visiting Amsterdam with the love of your live, there’s nothing as romantic as cruising the canals by night!
Prices of the canal cruises go from around €15,- up to €90, depending on the duration and beverages included in the tours. Definitely check out the following cruises and see which fits you best.
Daytime canal tour – 1 hour
The daytime canal tours are offered by different companies. They are the cheapest option for the classical canal boats. The boats depart from multiple locations throughout the city, they depart regularly every 20 to 30 minutes. The route goes along all highlights that Amsterdam has to offer. There are audio guides available in over 18 different languages. Purchasing tickets for your Amsterdam canal tour online will save you a couple of bucks and waiting in the queue.
Hop-on-Hop-off cruise – over 1,5 hour tour during 24 hours
The Hop-on-Hop-off boat tour is the most flexible canal cruise one can find. It allows you to see the city at your own pace. The boat tour takes you along a ride throughout the city. The boat stops at 7 different stops and you can get off at any point of choice. Among the seven stops you’ll find Amsterdam Central station, Rijksmuseum, the Albert Cuyp market, Anne Frank House, Gassan Diamonds and the Hermitage Museum. Feel free to get off at any point you like. Your ticket is valid for a full 24 hours between 9:15 and 19:00 and there are boats stopping every 25 minutes or so. In between the stops you’ll have plenty off time to visit one of the museums or do some shopping. When you’re ready to go back to finish the cruise no reservation is required, just hop on and hop off as much as you like. Regular price for the 24-hour ticket is €27,50, but if you book online you’ll be rewarded with €2,50 discount for each ticket.
Sail a small boat yourself
Do you want to be completely free and decide yourself which canals to cruise, have a picnic, drink or stay on the canals for hours? Then there’s the option to hire a small electric boat and sail it yourself This might very well be the coolest way to explore the waterways of Amsterdam! Especially when you’re with a group of people renting a boat in Amsterdam is a fun and cheap alternative for the canal cruises with a classical canal boat. There are multiple companies that rent out small electric boat that you can sail yourself. They are easy to sail and the electric propulsion provides a smooth, comfortable cruise over the Amsterdam canals. So put your captain hat on and start your own adventure. An electric rental boat will cost you somewhere around €30,- per hour. A boat carries up to 6 people so that’s only €5,- per person when fully loaded. Sounds like a heck of a deal!
Candle light canal cruise with dinner – well over 2 hours
Although the dinner cruises are costly, they might be the most one of the most romantic things to do in Amsterdam. Imagine cruising along the Amsterdam canals by candle light with the bridges lid with tiny bulbs. While you enjoy an excellent meal and good glass of wine. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity and love is priceless, isn’t it? If you’re visiting Amsterdam with the love of your life it will be well worth the money. Enjoy!
Pizza cruise – 1.5 hour
If you would like to do a canal cruise in the evening, but the dinner cruise is a bit over your budget, the pizza cruise is a perfect alternative. During this 90 minute cruise you’ll be covering both the historical and newer part of the city whilst enjoying a pizza of choice with a beer or a soda. The beverages are included in the price, so you’ll save money that you don’t have to spend on dinner and you can tick off a must do in Amsterdam!
Combitickets and discounted canal cruises
Obviously the canal cruises are a big thing in Amsterdam. It’s a unique way of viewing the city’s beautiful canals. So for those that are looking for a bargain deal canal cruise check out the complete list of canal cruises and available discounts below. The best discounts are often found in a combination ticket with a museum or excursion included. Choose wisely!
|Cruise / tour||Price||Discount|
|Classic canal cruise: Leidsekade||€ 14,-||€ 4,-|
|Hop-on-Hop-off bus & boat||€ 25,-||€ 21,-|
|Keukenhof bus tour & canal cruise||€ 55,-||€ 18,-|
|Rijksmuseum & canal cruise||€ 30,50||€ 4,-|
|Volendam & Marken tour with free canal cruise||€ 49,-||€ 18,-|
Small open boat tour
Since a year or two canal cruises with small open boats are gaining popularity. Thanks to the size of the boats, you can even cruise the smallest canals. There are several companies that rent out these boats and the captain is included. Most of the ships are electric so you won’t have any disturbing noise or smell from the engine. You can choose to have a private canal cruise with a group of choice or join in with other people. Renting a boat for a private group is an excellent choice for instance a bachelor or birthday party. Though we’re really font of the small boats, they do come with a few downsides; there’s no cover against the weather and they’re not as stable as the classical canal boats which makes them less suitable for elderly people or people with walking difficulties.
Prices for the small boats start from approximately €100,- per hour (10 passengers) up to €250,- (40 passengers) per hour depending on the size of the boat.
Rent a canal bike
Looking for some playful fun out on the Amsterdam canals? Don’t miss out on the canal bike rentals! The canal bikes are a really cool way to cruise the canals of Amsterdam. Especially when travelling with kids this fun ride can’t be missed. Do keep in mind that you won’t see as much of the city as with any sort of boat as it does take a lot of energy to keep the bike moving on the water. The canal bikes will offer you a good workout though, whether you like it or not.
Renting a canal bike will cost you about € 8,- per person per hour. For the canal bikes a deposit of €20,- is required.